[b-hebrew] Fw: Aramaic to them?

Peter Kirk peterkirk at qaya.org
Thu Mar 4 06:12:45 EST 2004

On 03/03/2004 16:36, Dave Washburn wrote:

>On Wednesday 03 March 2004 15:51, Peter Kirk wrote:
>>On 03/03/2004 14:37, Dave Washburn wrote:
>>>I've read most of them, but I suspect that most of the conclusions are
>>>flawed because they are treating documents that are inherently religious,
>>>as though they were more or less common speech.  There is no reason not
>>>to expect exclusively (or primarily) religious language to undergo change
>>>of the type that is purportedly observed; I also suspect that at least
>>>some of the changes spotted have been somewhat exaggerated.  But that's a
>>>matter for a different list.
>>I haven't read most of the articles. But your hypothesis can be tested,
>>as there are many languages in the world which have survived for many
>>centuries as exclusively or primarily religious language, with no mother
>>tongue communities - or in forms which have gradually diverged from
>>those used by mother tongue communities, as with Greek. (Hebrew was
>>probably in that category for more than 1500 years.) Can you point to
>>cases where such languages have undergone the same types of change that
>>Hebrew was undergoing during the DSS period? If not, there is good
>>reason to conclude that these changes occur only in languages with
>>mother tongue communities.
>I haven't done any study in the diachronics of other languages; the only one I 
>know of that fits your description offhand is Latin.  What others did you 
>have in mind?
Latin, Koine Greek (continuing liturgical use separate from modern 
Greek), Old Church Slavonic, Hebrew (in the mediaeval and early modern 
periods), Jewish Aramaic, Syriac, Coptic, Ethiopic, arguably classical 
Arabic, classical Mandaic, Avestan, Sanskrit, Pali, pehaps old Tibetan, 
arguably even KJV-style English. Maybe not all of these fit 100% (e.g. 
Sanskrit does have a small mother tongue community) but many are close.

>>What other list should this be discussed on? Despite the subject line,
>>we are talking about Hebrew, although not strictly biblical.
>The discussion seems to be moving more into a DSS-specific direction, so it 
>might be more appropriate for a list like Megillot.  But I'm game if you and 
>the moderators are...
This is not DSS-specific. The DSS are evidence for the change in 
progress, as is the Mishnah for the end point and late biblical Hebrew 
for the start point. But the goal of the study is not the DSS but the 
study of the Hebrew language in itself, and of all writings from the 
period and region including e.g. the New Testament as well as the DSS.

Peter Kirk
peter at qaya.org (personal)
peterkirk at qaya.org (work)

More information about the b-hebrew mailing list